Health officials work to track, fight Zika virus

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At Orange County Mosquito Control, workers have been busy trying to prevent the Zika virus, which is transmitted through infected mosquitos.  "Talking to people in neighborhoods, going door to door, seeing if we can find containers that have the mosquitos in them and removing the containers or dumping them out," explains Kelly Deutsch.

Deutsch is acting manager of Orange County Mosquito Control,  She says there are two types of mosquitos that can carry the Zika virus. "It's the [Aedes] aegypti and [Aedes] albopictus."

While she says there are low levels of those mosquitos in Central Florida, she advises homeowners to be mindful of standing water. "Be very aware of items in their yards, make sure to dump out containers in their yards. When in doubt, dump it out. Apply insect repellent or wear long pans and long shirt to minimize contact with mosquitos."

As Mosquito Control workers teach people how to protect themselves, health officials are also warning workers to be careful.  Christopher Hunter, director of Orange County Health Services says, "If I were to get bit and get infected by the Zika virus, it would feel like the flu." He says the only way to know if you have Zika is by getting tested. But beforehand, be aware of who you might have been in contact with. "Here in Central Florida, we have a lot of folks with family members in the Caribbean and South and Central American where we're seeing a lot of this virus."

An international travel advisory is also in effect, Hunter says. "The only way this illness can be transmitted is through this particular mosquito which would have to bite the infected individual and bite the uninfected individual."
 
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